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Parliamentary questions
13 June 2018
P-001635/2018
Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the Commission

The High Representative/Vice-President discussed the developments in Afrin, Syria in the European Parliament Plenary Session of 6 February 2018(1) and in the Plenary Session of 13 March 2018(2) where the situation in Syria was addressed. There is understanding of Turkey's concerns about the situation at its borders but there are strong concerns about the new front opened in north-west Syria, for its humanitarian and political consequences. Peace in Syria will require everyone’s contribution and Turkey, as one of the guarantors of the Astana Process, has an essential role to play, as well as a special responsibility.

At the EU-Turkey Leaders' meeting in Varna, the President of the European Council(3) and the President of the Commission expressed renewed concern regarding Turkey’s actions in Syria, in particular the situation in Afrin. More recently, the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions on Syria of 16 April 2018(4) also referred to Turkey's responsibility.

Regarding the recent statements of the President of Turkey, the European Council recently recalled(5) Turkey's obligation to respect International Law and good neighbourly relations, and normalise relations with all EU Member States.

In its latest annual report on Turkey(6), adopted on 17 April 2018, the Commission once again has urged Turkey to avoid any kind of threat or action directed against a Member State or source of friction or actions that damages good neighbourly relations and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Furthermore, the European Union has underlined that negative statements that damage good neighbourly relations should be avoided(7). As concerns the western Balkans, Turkey has repeatedly said that it respects their choice of a European path.

(1)https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headQuarters-homepage/39509/speech-high-representativevice-president-federica-mogherini-european-parliament-plenary_en
(2)https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/41270/speech-high-representativevice-president-federica-mogherini-european-parliament-plenary_en
(3)http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/03/26/remarks-by-president-donald-tusk-after-the-eu-turkey-leaders-meeting/?utm_source=dsms-auto&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Remarks+by+President+Donald+Tusk+following+the+EU-Turkey+leaders'+meeting+in+Varna
(4)http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-7956-2018-INIT/en/pdf
(5)http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/03/22/european-council-conclusions-on-the-western-balkans-and-actions-by-turkey-in-the-eastern-mediterranean-and-the-aegean-sea-22-march-2018/pdf
(6)https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20180417-turkey-report.pdf
(7)http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pdf

Last updated: 14 June 2018Legal notice